Obituary

Ian Cromb

CROMB, IAN BURNS, was killed in a car accident in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 6, 1984, aged 78. He made his first-class début for Canterbury in 1929-30 and his last appearance seventeen years later. A right-hand bat and a useful swing bowler, he toured England in 1931 with T. C. Lowry's New Zealand side, playing in all three Tests and reducing England, in the first of them, at Lord's, to 31 for three by taking the wickets of Arnold, Bakewell and Hammond.

He played only two further Tests, both against South Africa in New Zealand in 1931-32, when he bowled the famously obdurate Bruce Mitchell for a duck at Wellington, a match in which he scored 51 in New Zealand's first innings. After he had taken six for 46 against MCC at Lord's in 1931, Jardine, who played in the match, said that he "made the ball come at you so quickly that it hit the bat before the bat could hit the ball". His 58 wickets on the tour, a comparatively disappointing return, cost 26.3 runs apiece.

In 1935-36 Cromb captained New Zealand in three of their four representative matches against E. R. T. Holmes's MCC side, with character but limited personal success. In senior club cricket he had a long career, which lasted well into his 50s, scoring over 13,000 runs and taking nearly 700 wickets. His playing days over, he became involved with the administration of Canterbury cricket, being President of the association from 1973-75, as well as a selector and coach. The competitiveness of his playing days manifested itself in forceful argument. His overall record in first-class cricket was 3,950 runs at 29.04, including three centuries, the highest of them 171 for Canterbury against Wellington in 1939-40, and 222 wickets at 27.7. He was also a low handicap golfer, winning the South Island title and several Canterbury championships, and helping to launch Bob Charles. New Zealand's most successful golfer, on his career.

© John Wisden & Co